Zellig S. Harris

Language and Information
The Bampton Lectures
Columbia University (1986)

Hear Zellig Harris describe his theory of language and information in his own words and follow along in a transcript, available here for the first time.

This accessible presentation was later expanded and published as:

Introduction  by Robert Goldberger, Columbia Provost
Foreword   by Zellig Harris
Lecture 1:
A formal theory of syntax
  1. Problems and methods
  2. Procedures yielding primitive elements
  3. The partial-order constraint
  4. The likelihood constraint
  5. The reduction constraint
  6. Linearization
  7. Properties of the base
  8. Properties of the reduced sentences
Lecture 2:
  1. Subsets of sentences
  2. Subject-matter sublanguages
  3. Science sublanguages
  4. Science languages
  5. The uses of science formulas
Lecture 3:
  1. How sentences carry information
  2. How words carry meaning
  3. Grammatical meanings
  4. Added structure adds information capacity
  5. Form and content
  6. The structure of information
Lecture 4:
The Nature of Language
  1. The structural properties
  2. Change
  3. Stages of development
  4. Processes of development
  5. Language as an evolving system